Ahed TamimiABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images
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Picnics, Parties, Singalongs: Tough Times for Young Palestinians Detained by Israel

Ahed Tamimi tells all

Liel Leibovitz
August 09, 2018
Ahed TamimiABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images

Last December, a 17-year-old Palestinian woman named Ahed Tamimi assaulted an IDF soldier and was arrested and sentenced to eight months in prison. She became an inspiration to many critics of Israel, and helped inspire several Democrats to write a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ask that he take up the cause. “We encourage the State Department to stress the importance of ensuring proper treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention,” read the letter, “and address this matter in the Department’s next report on global human rights.”

How, then, are young Palestinians detained by Israel treated? Tamimi herself addressed this issue with an interview on Al-Jazeera celebrating her release.

Each day, she recalled, began with all the prisoners in her wing congregating in the yard to enjoy a potluck picnic alfresco. Then, mornings were spent studying for her high school diploma, a scholastic pursuit that Tamimi chose to complement with remotely pursuing a degree in law. All that academic work can get lonely, so lunches were again a communal affair, followed, Tamimi said, by “having parties, sitting around together, singing, dancing, just passing the time, watching TV, jumping around from room to room, going wild.”

If you speak Arabic or read Hebrew, you can watch the smiling Tamimi describe the clearly very tough time she had herself:

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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